Bensonhurst, Long Island
Bensonhurst is a neighborhood located in the south-central part of the Brooklyn borough of Long Island, New York. It endures from about 14th Avenue to 25th Avenue and from Gravesend Bay to 53rd surrounding Bath Beach, New Utrecht, and part of Dyker Heights. Bensonhurst is bordered by Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Gravesend, and Borough Park. There were thousands of Italian immigrants who settled here in the 1950s. According to the 2000 census, Bensonhurst is still heavily Italian-American, as its Italian-speaking community remains over 20,000 strong with the Italian American community numbers over 50,000, or more than one-third of the population. The neighborhood represents a historical parallel to the reduction of Manhattan’s Little Italy as a result of the expansion and infringement of neighboring Chinatown. The Elevation is 13 feet.
In 1661, Bensonhurst was originally settled by the Dutch as part of the town of New Utrecht. Today, it is surrounded by 61 Street, McDonald Avenue, Gravesend Bay and 14th Avenue and includes the areas known as Mapleton and New Utrecht. The former and merged names include Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea as “the most perfectly developed suburb ever lay out around New York.” It derives its name from Arthur W. Benson, the former president of Brooklyn Gas, who in 1835 began buying farmland that formerly belonged to the Polhemuses family. During 1890s, it was the time when the residents hoped that the Bath Beach-Coney Island railroad, built along the shore, would further the community of "Bensonhurst by the Sea", particularly in light of the success of the Coney Island amusement area, but it was unsuccessful. In the early 1930s, the neighborhood started to construct high-rise apartment buildings with plentiful of single family detached and attached houses and multi-family dwellings.
Bensonhurst has always been a refuge for middle class families and it’s not unusual to find two or three generations of the same family living on the same block or a few blocks away. Many attractive houses stand along tree-lined streets that are reminiscent of the Victorian era. The typical Bensonhurst house with a two- family brick structure has a price range from $100,000 to $275,000. The neighborhood has three libraries and several parks. The Bensonhurst Park is one of the famous parks in the area. It is among the 26 parks crossed by the Belt Parkway. Its features include benches with game tables, handball and basketball courts, two baseball fields, swings, and modular play equipment with safety surfacing. The neighborhood has also many fine Italian restaurants are along 86th Street such as Tomasso's, where operatic arias are sung on some evenings, and De Bals, where a complete lobster dinner. The Feast in honor of Santa Rosalia is held every year in the summer on 18th Avenue that brings at least 15,000 visitors. The avenue is the heart of the Italian community which everyone can find Italian shoes and clothing, the hottest singles on the Italian hit parade, cafes, etc.